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26th November 2015

Learning opportunities at on-farm open day

Rectory Farm advisors open dayStewardship and conservation were the focus of a unique open day for advisors at Purdey Award winning Rectory Farm in Buckinghamshire last month. Aimed at farmland advisors from across the South and Midlands, the day was well received, with representatives from Campaign for the Farmed Environment, Natural England and RSPB among the attendees.

Organised by Kings in conjunction with farm owner George Eaton, the day included a guided tour of the farm’s impressive habitats supported by technical advice from Kings’ advisors Marc Bull, Meehal Grint and Richard Barnes. The Kings team also gave presentations on how to promote best practice in crop establishment, maintenance for all stewardship options, green cover crops and suitable species selection across all options.

Natural England’s Matt Wilmott found the day worthwhile. “I found it very enjoyable, and picked up some excellent practical management tips which I’ll be able to pass on directly to the farmers I deal with,” he explains. “It was fantastic to see real results being delivered by someone as passionate as George and also observing first-hand how quality habitats are helping farmland birds through the winter.

“The bird monitoring and ringing work at sites like these helps to prove scientifically that agri-environment options like wild bird seed mixtures really do work. As always, there was also some lively discussion around the design of the schemes and the importance of good quality advice, and certainly George’s views had me thinking for several days afterwards. I’ll look forward to visiting the site again.”

A similar event for growers was held at the same site on the previous day, which also included a tour of the working farm and presentations from industry experts. With a total of over 60 attendees, both events gave visitors the opportunity to discuss ongoing stewardship related matters, exchange notes and share experiences.

Kings manager Richard Barnes explains the concept behind the consecutive open days. “Rectory Farm is such a great example of how to introduce and manage habitat features that it would be a misdeed not to share it with others to learn from.

“We felt that bringing it together with a whole host of experts to share their knowledge and experience would be an unmissable opportunity for local growers and advisors and the days proved valuable to those that attended. We look forward to holding other events like it in the future.”

You can read about the grower open day and see more pictures here.

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